Everyone has one, right?
After weeks of feeling like any day could the The One, I resigned myself to just forgetting about this baby ever coming and relax. My husband and I joked that it would be nice and convenient for the baby to decide to come during the long Columbus Day weekend. The weather was also forecasted to be insane: going from warm and sunny to freezing and stormy. I had a good feeling.
Saturday we went for a family “hike” (three-year-old and tremendously huge pregnant lady-style) and I noticed I was starting to lose some mucus plug and was crampy. I also felt weirdly calm, happy, and almost euphoric. I felt like I was sort of electrically charged…I started getting a stronger feeling that this weekend would be it. That night we took our daughter to see The Lorax at a park lawn showing and in retrospect, I was so happy we had such a fun fall day as a family of three for the last time.
At 5 a.m. I woke up from a dream and heard/felt a pop pop pop sound come from inside me. I had read that some women experience their water breaking with a popping sound, even though last time my water broke I didn’t hear it, so I stood up to see if any fluid would come, and sure enough, it was go time. My husband and I debated trying to sleep more to rest up but it became clear I was having contractions right away and they were definitely not nothing ones, so we got up and started packing last minute things and getting the house ready.
Anna woke up and said she changed her mind and didn’t want the baby to come. The baby’s mind on the other hand seemed pretty well made up: my contractions quickly went from every ten, to every eight, to every six minutes in less than an hour. I called my mom and said I would call her soon to tell her when to come and then ten minutes later I called back and said, on second thought, come now.
My sister and her boyfriend were two blocks away so they were our go-to emergency child care but of course they weren’t answering the phone. So my husband jumped in the car to go wake them up. I went from hemming and hawing about even calling the midwife to moaning a bit through a contraction (while I was brushing my teeth…I refused to leave without brushing my teeth!). While Walt was gone I walked around muttering “I want to go now I want to go now I want to go now.” Our help arrived just in time, as my last contraction before we left the house had me on hands and knees. I spent the car ride the same way I did when I had my daughter (when I got to the hospital with her I was fully dilated). I had to lean against the back of the seat and crouch on my knees and basically make a lot of noise. Walt calls it “when I turn into a werewolf.”
The trip is normally 45 minutes but speeding got us there in about 25. I almost couldn’t walk from the parking lot to the labor and delivery suite, since I was having back labor this time. In between contractions I was still in pain…it felt like the baby was grinding down on my tailbone and I felt faint and nauseous. I had to hold onto Walt and sort of penguin waddle. It took forever (or at least it seemed like it). When we got to the check-in lobby I sort of leaned over a chair and had a huge contraction and my water started gushing out again all over the lobby, probably scaring the one woman sitting there. She looked a little alarmed. Ha.
Waiting in the triage room, I had three or four of the world’s most insane contractions and fluid just keep gushing. Walt opened the door so someone, anyone, would hear that we were sort of in an urgent state and couldn’t wait around all day for someone to come in. Finally the midwife arrived (with a midwife in training!) and she took charge, deflecting a lot of the things the nurses wanted to do, telling them there wasn’t really time for the blood draws, checks, etc. They listened to the baby and he was good and they got us into a delivery room quickly. I was already pushing I think without meaning to.
There was a lot of chaos at this point. Between the midwife in training and disagreements between the midwife and the hospital nurses, there was a lot of back and forth. I was too zoned out to register most of it but I remember being completely impatient with anything anyone wanted me to do. I didn’t even want to get on my back to push at all but they were worried I was too faint to push in another position. (I also think even my progressive midwives prefer women to deliver on their backs because it makes it easier for them to catch the babies).
The midwife in training checked me and said, basically, the baby’s head is right there. Everyone was saying this baby is going to be born in minutes but I had trouble believing them since I pushed for seven hours with my daughter. But four pushes and 15 minutes later, he was born. Posterior and with an arm next to his head, too!
We were shocked that was he was 9 pounds 3 ounces. I knew he was big, but that was on a different level big. Anna was seven pounds! I couldn’t believe I had pushed out a nine-pounder in minutes with no tears. It did hurt a lot, though, when he crowned. I was screeching.
Henry John Sweet is objectively the most beautiful baby ever, since my last baby. He’s so chill and easy-going, except for when he’s cold or not cozy. He’s a cozy monster and a total cuddler. He already sleeps in longer stretches than my daughter did at three months and he eats like a monster. He had a tongue tie that we just got snipped and so he is feeding better and less painfully for me.
Our daughter had a bit of a rough time with the change. I think that subject deserves its own post.
I’m just so happy and in love and can’t believe I was worried I’d never love another child like I love my first. Like every parent of more than one child has said before, and I’m saying it again. It feels pretty good to have all my family members here on Earth accounted for. I don’t love the newborn and infant stage, but this time so far I’m way more chill and patient, maybe because I know this is the last time around. And it’s a pretty sweet time.